Thursday, October 16, 2008

Connecting the Dots on Comrade Obama

One of the tragedies of this election is that I cannot be an Obama supporter. It is not just that his supporters seem to have more fun, and get to be more stylish, and enjoy those Obama music videos on a deeper level than the rest of us do. It is above all that Barack Obama is an impressive man with an obvious potential for national leadership that can unify us in the way he boasts he will. The fact that I could at the same time vote for the first black president would just enhance the pleasure.

But I cannot support him because I am increasingly convinced that he is as radically left wing as I feared he might be. In his most public settings, like a national presidential debate for example, he is all moderation and centrism. He surrounds himself with establishment Democrats like former treasury secretary Robert Rubin and stock market tycoon Warren Buffett, and even some retired generals on occasion. But behind the election season facade is a threatening gang of communist (yes, I use the word advisedly) associates. Connecting the dots on Barack Obama's submerged radical political sentiments has become like viewing a pointillist painting. (Thus, my use, or in a sense misuse, of the December 2007 cover of The Atlantic.)

Amir Taheri ("The O Jesse Knows") quotes Jesse Jackson saying, "He is the continuation of our struggle for justice not only for the black people but also for all those who have been wronged." On its own, that testimony is just a dot. But I have noted before that while McCain says that government needs to be reformed, Obama sees America itself as the problem, i.e., our political, economic and social systems. Thus, Jackson foresees Obama bringing a "radical change of direction." His indictment is this:
We have lost confidence in our president, our Congress, our banking system, our Wall Street and our legal system to protect our individual freedoms. . . I don't see how we could regain confidence in all those institutions without a radical change of direction

Think of "radical" in the leftist political sense. Jesse Jackson says he is neither an advisor nor confident of Obama, but his son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and it would be naive to think that Jesse is not in the know.

Michael Barone, senior writer for US News & World Report and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, draws our attention to the record of intimidation and suppression of free speech among Obama operatives ("The Coming Liberal Thugocracy").
Obama supporters seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don't like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we've seen the coming of a thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.

Consider Jonah Goldberg's study of "liberal fascism." (Read Ron Pestritto's review in the Claremont Review of Books, "A Nicer Form of Tyranny.")

Obama the Chicago community organizer is closely tied to ACORN, infamous for their physical intimidation of elected officials, widespread voter fraud and abuse of public funds. Read Stanley Kurtz's extensively researched, "Inside Obama's Acorn," and "Obama and Acorn" from the Wall Street Journal. Kurtz also shares the story of ACORN's gestapo-style assault on Newt Gingrich's legislative attempts to limit their influence ("Spreading the Virus").

House Speaker Newt Gingrich was scheduled to address a meeting of county commissioners at the Washington Hilton. But, first, some 500 protesters from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) poured into the ballroom from both the kitchen and the main entrance. Hotel staffers who tried to block them were quickly overwhelmed by demonstrators chanting, "Nuke Newt!" and "We want Newt!" Jamming the aisles, carrying bullhorns and taunting the assembled county commissioners, demonstrators swiftly took over the head table and commandeered the microphone, sending two members of Congress scurrying. The demonstrators' target, Gingrich, hadn't yet arrived - and his speech was cancelled. When the cancellation was announced, ACORN's foot soldiers cheered.

He reports other frightening incidents of violence. These are Obama's associates, people he has defended and with whom he has worked closely. This is what community organizing means in Chicago. Obama's wife, Michelle, told us, "Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He's a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change."

The WSJ editorial ended with this:
The Obama campaign is now distancing itself from Acorn, claiming Mr. Obama never organized with it and has nothing to do with illegal voter registration. Yet it's disingenuous to channel cash into an operation with a history of fraud and then claim you're shocked to discover reports of fraud. As with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, Mr. Obama was happy to associate with Acorn when it suited his purposes. But now that he's on the brink of the Presidency, he wants to disavow his ties.

The great exposé, however, is Joshua Muravchik's article, "Obama's Leftism," in the recent Commentary. From the evidence he assembles, the reader can trace a pattern of communist (yes, I mean Marxist, communist) associations in Obama's personal and profession life.

His mentor in high school was poet Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party.

In college, Obama has written that "I chose my friends carefully. ... The Marxist professors and structural feminists...." That was not just a phase he went through in college.

Moving to Chicago and throwing himself into community activism, he joined himself to Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his politically charged Trinity United Methodist Church. "The first time Obama attended services at Trinity, Wright delivered a sermon (it was titled “the audacity of hope”) whose theme was: “white folks’ greed runs a world in need.”" Obama told us he was "shocked" to learn of these radical, America hating, Marxist (liberation theology) views. But they was as hard to miss as beer in a bar. "[N]ot only was he aware of Wright’s views, they were what had drawn him to Trinity church in the first place."

Community organizing in Chicago was invented by leftist radical Saul Alinsky. In those years, Obama was schooled in the art of professional radicalism and he schooled others in turn.

Obama's connection with the murderous, bomb-throwing 1960's domestic terrorist William Ayers is harder to pin down. Information on this connection has been suppressed. But the connection is sufficiently clear that a responsible press would dig for greater details. Muravchik uses the words "likely," "most likely," "apparently," "conceivable," "could only have been," and "these facts suggest" in reporting the relationship. But when you put it all together and in the context of all of Obama's radical associations, it is a compelling and, given his chance at the presidency, a disturbing case. On it's own, a snow flake is of no consequence. But the cumulative effect of many snow flakes in coincidence is a deadly storm.

Ayers became an English professor and community activist in the Saul Alinsky tradition. Remember Michelle Obama indiscreet words: “Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He’s a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change.”

Obama's political career started in the Illinois state senate when he took over the seat of Alice Palmer who chose him as her successor. Clearly, she expected him to carry on in her tradition. Palmer was a communist...literally.

Like others among his mentors or patrons, Palmer, too, was a radical, a member of the executive body of the U.S. Peace Council, the least disguised of Soviet front organizations. She had made multiple pilgrimages to the Soviet Union, and in 1986 attended the 27th Congress of the Soviet Communist party, telling the party paper on her return that the Soviets “plan to provide people with higher wages and better education, health and transportation, while we in our country are hearing that cutbacks are necessary in all of these areas.”

During that campaign, Obama received the endorsement of "the New Party (NP), a coalition of socialists, Communists, and other leftists," a favor for which he later thanked them in person.

It is generous to think that, if there is any truth to these indicators, Barack Obama will be moderated by the office and by some of the establishment Democrats around him. On the other hand, as Muravchik observes, there is nothing in his intellectual development nor in his career path--from his professional radicalism in Chicago to his almost monolithicly liberal voting record in the Senate--to suggest any hope of moderation in an Obama presidency.

Muravchik sums up,

"Obama comes to us from a background farther to the Left than any presidential nominee since George McGovern, or perhaps ever. This makes him an extremely unlikely leader to bridge the divides of party, ideology, or, for that matter, race. If he loses, it will be for that reason (though many will no doubt adduce different explanations, including of course white racism, to which every GOP victory since Nixon’s election in 1968 has been attributed)."

"And if he wins? Without a doubt, it will be a thrilling moment. But the enduring importance of that landmark event will depend on the subsequent effectiveness of his presidency. If his tenure—like that of, say, Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter—should end by inviting scorn, then it may open as many wounds as it heals. On the other hand, it is not unimaginable that he may rise to the challenge of the office and govern from the center, as he will have to do to succeed. This, however, would truly involve reinventing himself, a task for which his intellectual and ideological background furnishes few materials."

On this subject, there is also David Feddoso's book, The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate (Regnery, 2008).

Honestly, given John McCain's shortcomings, if Barack Obama were an ordinary, left of center Democrat, I might very well support him. My hope would be that it would be worth suffering the minimal harm he would do for the sake of the reconciliation he could bring the nation and for the benefit the Republicans would experience during their wilderness reflection. But given his consistent history of leftist and even radical politics, I foresee no reconciliation, huge growth of government at the expense of our economic and political liberties, and the emboldening of our enemies around the world.

Looking at Barack Obama soberly, I see nothing but a tragedy waiting to happen. He could have been great.


David Brooks anticipates one or the other of these two Obama presidencies based on his historical and psychological assessments:
And it is easy to sketch out a scenario in which he could be a great president. He would be untroubled by self-destructive demons or indiscipline. With that cool manner, he would see reality unfiltered. He could gather — already has gathered — some of the smartest minds in public policy, and, untroubled by intellectual insecurity, he could give them free rein. Though he is young, it is easy to imagine him at the cabinet table, leading a subtle discussion of some long-term problem.

Of course, it’s also easy to imagine a scenario in which he is not an island of rationality in a sea of tumult, but simply an island. New presidents are often amazed by how much they are disobeyed, by how often passive-aggressiveness frustrates their plans.

It could be that Obama will be an observer, not a leader. Rather than throwing himself passionately into his causes, he will stand back. Congressional leaders, put off by his supposed intellectual superiority, will just go their own way. Lost in his own nuance, he will be passive and ineffectual. Lack of passion will produce lack of courage. The Obama greatness will give way to the Obama anti-climax.

From "Thinking About Obama," New York Times, October 17, 2008)

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